Monthly Archives: May 2012

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The Truth About Imagination

Is Lady protecting their shoes or is she resting on them? What else could she be doing? Let your imagination go wild.

The Truth About Imagination
By Author Donna Jean McDunn

Through out history, people have pondered whether angels exist on earth. Many of us who believe they exist imagine angels to be good and kind. Others imagine “dark” angels? Ones who are full of hate and jealousy, ready to destroy all those who get in their way?

Who is correct? Can both be? We’ll let our imaginations help us decide.

In the mind, anything is possible. When an idea forms in the brain, the mind creates fiction or some other form of art. How does the mind do it and where does the source originate? The sources are virtually as endless as the imagination is deep. Imagination is a wonderful thing. We all have it and we all use it. So what is the truth about imagination?

In my copy of The World Book Dictionary 1987 edition, it describes imagination as:
1. “The action of imagining: power of forming pictures in the mind of things not present to the senses. Imagination leads people to think they see, hear, or feel things that are not there.”
2. The ability to create new things or ideas or to combine old ones into new forms.” It goes on to describe imagination as: “the ability to create believable or realistic pictures of things that never existed or happened.”

For inventers of new technologies, imagination boils down to inventing new things or creating something new from existing inventions. Modern day electronics grew from past technology, because someone had the imagination to create it in the first place.

For works of art, made with clay, paints, metal, or any other kinds of material, it’s someone’s imagination that puts life into an object, thing or idea, giving it existence. In the written word, truth becomes fiction and fiction imitates life, giving it a ring of truth and life.

If the inventor creates something new out of something that already exists—is it truth? When that same inventor creates something that never existed before that moment—is it truth? Is it possible they are both truth? Think of the inventions that have been created in the last twenty years. They wouldn’t exist today if someone with imagination hadn’t said, “I have an idea. I can create it. I can make it real.”

The artists among us, creates poetry, sculptures, paintings, drawings, photos, songs and music, or they put words on paper (or on the Internet for download) that becomes stories. All of these are creations—created with imagination, and it takes imagination to appreciate them.

The imagination is limitless and powerful and just like a character in a story, we can use that power in many ways. We can travel to far away lands and planets simply by picking up a book (or any e-reader). We can each look at a sculpture or painting and see either beauty where it hadn’t existed before or be repulsed. We can listen to a song and be transported back into our childhoods to a time and place that brings warm fuzzy feelings or sends us into shock with fear and terror. All of this is made possible because of our imaginations.

So, what is the truth? We know imagination exists in each of us; we each use our imagination; so in reality, only our individual imagination can give us an answer. What is your answer?

As always, I appreciate your opinions or questions. Please, leave a comment and allow me to find your words, so I can learn what has inspired you to use your imagination to create. It’s been said that writing is a lonely business and that’s true, but if we writers and readers continue to support one another, then we are no longer alone. I’d love to hear from you and learn what inspires you.

Some of my work can be found online: Here’s a direct link to my children’s story “Pack Leader” at Knowonder Magazine. http://www.knowonder.com/2011/11/03/pack-leader-short-bedtime-stories/

I also have a children’s story, “The Golden Stallion” online at http://www.storiesthatlift.com. Once on the site click on the Story Library and then Children’s Stories
.
In May 2012, my children’s story, “Gus’ Big Adventure” was published at Bumples Magazine. http://www.bumples.com/

In June my first adult short story, “Saving Katie” will be published at http://www.thepinkchameleon.com.

The Choices We Make

We All Are Tested

It takes practice to achieve our dreams, no matter what they are.

The Choices We Make

By Author Donna Jean McDunn

Recently I read a blog by Martina McGowan, a Gynecologist by profession. She says she’s “not a minister (yet), or a philosopher or even a teacher, but she likes reaching out to others and helping them. She’s mentored, supported and coached people for over 30 years. She’s been a lifelong learner, a student of the Bible, as well as a seeker of knowledge, wisdom, and truth.” If she sounds like someone who could inspire you, check out her name.

She inspired me to write this blog about her message and to share it and pass it on to others. How many of us have a little voice in our heads that ridicule us and tell us we should stop striving to reach our dreams because we aren’t going to make it. Why do we listen to that voice when it’s trying to sabotage us? It’s because most of us harbor some kind of fear. So what are we afraid of? Is it fear of failing to succeed or is it fear of succeeding or something else or a combination of several fears? To fight and win against any fear, we must first examine what it is and why we fear it?

If we’re afraid of failure, and we will fail sometimes, then people will shake their heads and laugh at us. We all know someone who likes to rub failure in. You meet them unexpectedly at the store. “Hey, Donna, I hear you’ve written a book. When’s it being published?” they ask with a smirk.

That’s when the little voice, my inner critic, begins to scream in my ear. “You know no one is going to publish that thing you wrote. You’re just not good enough. She knows it and so do you.”

But what if we succeed. Our lives will change forever…a lot. More pressure will be heaped on our shoulders and more will be expected of us. We’ll need to build a platform and brand our name on the Internet, if we haven’t done it already. There will be interviews, book signings, public speaking, and so much more. It can be scary stuff, especially if you’re like me and prefer to keep yourself and your life private.

I finally figured out, my fear is actually, a combination of both fear of failure and fear of success with a dose of feeling of being unworthy and undeserving of reaching my dreams.

“You’re a nobody,” my inner critic whispers. “Why would anyone want to read or publish anything you write?” And suppose I get that best seller, then what? I have to ask myself if I’m good enough to do it again and again? And my inner critic whispers, “No way, you’re a one hit wonder.”

If you’ve read my “about” page then you know I’m a third degree blackbelt in Songahm Taekwondo. When I first began martial art training, I was doing it for myself, I had no intention of becoming a leader. All I expected to get out of the classes was to be capable of protecting myself and get into great physical condition.

But early in my journey of becoming a blackbelt, I realized, the further I advanced in Taekwondo, the more was expected of me. It wasn’t just in the discipline and sparring, but also as a leader. The more I grew in knowledge and power, the more others expected from me. I soon found myself, out there on the floor with the other leaders, teaching kids and adults the things I had learned.

Did my inner critic leave me alone? No, every time I stepped into the dojo, I had to remind myself that I was worthy of teaching. I had earned it. The mantra that kept me going then is the same one that keeps me writing today. A very wise man, Eternal Grand Master Haeng Ung Lee, passed away in 2000, but he once said, “Today not possible. Tomorrow possible.”

I understood his words to mean; when first beginning to train as a white belt, you probably couldn’t kick as high or perform with the same speed and strength as a black belt. But with the proper training and hours of practice you soon find it is possible to break a board with a jump front kick or land that round kick to your sparring partners head.

Hours are spent training and learning a martial art. As a writer we also must spend hours learning about the written word and the life that goes with it. The more we write, the more we learn and the better our writing becomes and in time, if we keep striving for our dream, we’ll see the success we have worked for. We will have earned it.

It’s all in the choices we make. We can let that inner critic stop us or we can apply what we have learned. That same lesson can be applied to anyone’s dream whether it’s writing, training in the martial arts, or seeking your dream job in corporateAmerica.

Will our inner critic shut up once we’ve realized our dream? No, he’ll always be there, trying to get us to stop, to stay safe and hidden inside ourselves, trying to protect us from disappointment and rejection. That is a truth we can’t escape because that inner critic is part of us. We can silence him only temporarily.

So, what is your dream? Is it landing that dream-job promotion or becoming a best selling author, or maybe it’s something else entirely. If we let our “inner critic” rule us, as Martina McGowan so eloquently put it, “it can bring our bright futures to a screeching halt”.

As always, I appreciate your opinions or questions. Whether you are a writer or just enjoy the written word, please, leave a comment and allow me to find your words, so I can learn what has inspired you. It’s been said that writing is a lonely business and that’s true, but if we writers and readers continue to support one another, then we are no longer alone.

Some of my work can be found online: Here’s a direct link to my children’s story “Pack Leader” at Knowonder Magazine. http://www.knowonder.com/2011/11/03/pack-leader-short-bedtime-stories/

I also have a children’s story, “The Golden Stallion” online at www.storiesthatlift.com. Once on the site click on the Story Library and then Children’s Stories

In May, my children’s story, “Gus’ Big Adventure” will be published at Bumples Magazine. http://www.bumples.com/

In June my first adult short story, “Saving Katie” will be published at www.thepinkchameleon.com.

Ghosts and Imagination by Donna Jean McDunn

What is it about ghosts that fascinate us? Do they live only in our imaginations? Or do they live in the dark shadows of the night, waiting for their victims to fall asleep? Maybe it depends on what kind of ghost we’re talking about. Is it a ghost, like Casperthe friendly ghost, who only seeks friendship, or is the ghost a little more lethal, like Nichol Kidman as Grace in The Others? She wanted to keep a secret hidden at all cost, so she didn’t have to face what she had done?

I love writing about both kinds of ghosts, the good and the scary. I love reading about them too. Many of my favorite books and movies have been about ghosts and spirits. Which brings me to another question, are ghosts and spirits the same thing? Were spirits once living and breathing humans who died, and now are unseen entities that wreak havoc or good, depending on their agenda, on the unsuspecting.

If ghosts were humans who passed into the spirit world, does that passing automatically make them a spirit or does staying in our world make them a ghost?

Since I write fiction, for me, the answer is another question. Does it really matter?

As a fiction writer, I get to decide what their fate will be. In The Merriam Webster Dictionary, fiction is defined as “something (as in a story) invented by the imagination”. Those words, “invented by the imagination”, is the key to writing fiction.

The characters in a story can be whatever we want to imagine them to be. They can be evil or good, sad or happy, brave or cowardly. Maybe the characters start out as good or cowardly and by the end of the story, they’ve evolved into evil or brave. Since almost no one is all evil or all good, it’s up to the writer to make believable characters the reader will either love or love to hate, but those characters are only a figment of the writer’s imagination until someone reads their words.

Writers create characters with the written word, but it’s the readers of those words that give them a life with a purpose. Without the reader, the words lie dormant.

I speak to the reader that lives in all of us and thank anyone who reads my words and gives my characters and stories the life I have imagined for them. Without a reader, my characters are only words on a page.

If by chance, the reader is also a writer of fiction, my wish for you, is to keep writing and inventing characters I can read about and there for I can give life to your work in return.

Please, leave a comment and allow me to find your words, whether they are about ghosts or whatever that has inspired you to use your imagination to create. It’s been said that writing is a lonely business and that’s true, but if we writers and readers continue to support one another, then we are no longer alone. We have one another to help guide and support us.

Leave me a comment and let me know where I may find your words. I’d love to hear from you and read your work.

Some of my work can be found online: Here’s a direct link to my children’s story “Pack Leader” at Knowonder Magazine. http://www.knowonder.com/2011/11/03/pack-leader-short-bedtime-stories/

I also have a children’s story, “The Golden Stallion” online at www.storiesthatlift.com. Once on the site click on the Story Library and then Children’s Stories

In May, my children’s story, “Gus’ Big Adventure” will be published at Bumples Magazine. http://www.bumples.com/

In June my first adult short story, “Saving Katie” will be published at www.thepinkchameleon.com.

The Age of the Artist–Time for a Revolution

The Age of the Artist–Time for a Revolution.

Serial Killers Are Real

What do you like to read? I love mysteries, anything paranormal, romance of course and…well…anything about serial killers. I don’t know what it is about them that fascinate me so much. There are movies, TV shows, books and even plays about serial killers. Online there are literally hundreds maybe even thousands of websites discussing them. Obviously I’m not alone with my curiosity. Thousands of others can’t seem to learn enough either. Maybe that’s because a normal person could never really understand that urge to kill.

My favorite TV show is “Criminal Minds” and from watching the show and reading all about serial killers on the Internet, I have learned there are many different kinds of serial killers, each with a different set of traits that distinguish them from other killers. There are copycat killers of course, but normally, no two are totally alike.

Research has led me to believe that serial killers kill because something inside them drives them to do it (It’s that urge I spoke of earlier).  A true serial killer feels no remorse or sympathy for what, he, the killer has done to his victims. It’s usually agreed upon that it takes 3-5 kills before the killer is considered a serial killer. But I think most law enforcement officers, suspects almost from the first victim’s death, something isn’t quite right about this person’s demise, and isn’t completely surprised when a new body is found with startling similarities.

Most serial killers work alone. Ted Bundy, one of the most famous killers of all time, worked alone, singling out young women. His kills ranged in age from junior high girls to college. Unlike many serial killers, Bundy’s victims were high-risk kills and he often killed them in their beds. But he wasn’t afraid to find them in parking lots or walking on the streets alone. He would pretend to be injured in some way to gain their sympathy and then abduct them by overpowering them or knocking them out.

Other serial killers choose victims no one would miss, such as prostitutes. Usually he would take them somewhere the killer felt safe, so he could take his time and enjoy torturing before the kill. And still others target young children. (The worst kind in my humble opinion)

Many serial killers stalk their victims for weeks, months and even years, before killing them. The stalker learns the person’s routines so he’ll know the safest time to strike. That’s what Dennis Rader, BTK (Bind, Torture Kill), the notorious killer fromWichita,Kansasdid. He took great pride in all his endeavors. Some who knew BTK described him as a control freak and he described the people he killed as “his projects”. He also took personal items, such as panties for souvenirs. His victims were mostly women living alone, but his first kill was a family of four. The youngest victim, Joseph was only nine years old and his older sister, Josephine was eleven, she was the last to die after watching her parents and little brother die. 

By now you’re probably wondering what all of this has to do with what I like to write. I don’t write about true crime. I write fiction. Serial killers are a treasure trove of scary. Nothing scares me more than a human, stalking another human as prey just for the pleasure of torturing and killing them.

I feature stalkers and serial killers in my stories, because they add a true element of fear, because they do exist and that knowledge is scarier than any made up monster could possibly be.

What about you? What scares you and sends your imagination into overdrive?

 

If you’re interested: Here’s a direct link to my children’s story “Pack Leader” at Knowonder Magazine. http://www.knowonder.com/2011/11/03/pack-leader-short-bedtime-stories/ I also have a children’s story, “The Golden Stallion” online at www.storiesthatlift.com. Once on the site click on the Story Library and then Children’s Stories. In June I’ll have my first adult short story, “Saving Katie” published at www.thepinkchameleon.com for you to check outImage.